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Dollar steadies near one-month high; Sterling gains on hot inflation data

Published 01/17/2024, 04:12 AM
© Reuters.

Investing.com - The U.S. dollar steadied at a one-month high amid increasing doubts over early interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve, while sterling climbed on hot inflation data.

At 04:15 ET (09:15 GMT), the Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six other currencies, traded 0.1% higher at 103.247, just below the 103.55 level seen earlier Wednesday, its highest level since Dec. 13.

Dollar helped by rate cut uncertainty

The greenback received a boost late Tuesday after Federal Reserve Governor Christopher Waller said that while interest rate cuts were likely to happen this year, the central bank was not considering any in the near-term, citing continued resilience in the U.S. economy.

Uncertainty over when the Fed will start cutting interest rates has helped the dollar rebound this year after being hard hit at the end of 2023 in the wake of the Fed's dovish turn at the December FOMC meeting.

Market expectations of a rate cut in March have eased to a 62.2% chance versus an 76.9% view in the prior session, according to CME's FedWatch Tool.

U.S. retail sales are due for release later Wednesday, and will be closely watched for indications that consumer spending - a major driver of economic growth - is remaining resilient in the face of elevated interest rates.

Sterling climbs on inflation surprise

In Europe, GBP/USD rose 0.2% to 1.2657 after U.K. consumer price inflation rose for the first time in 10 months in December, increasing to 4.0% on an annual basis from a more-than-two-year low 3.9% in November.

This resulted in traders pared back expectations for Bank of England interest rate cuts over the coming months, with inflation proving to be more sticky than previously anticipated.

EUR/USD dropped 0.1% to 1.0868, near a one-month low despite hawkish comments from a number of European Central Bank policymakers over the need to complete the job of taming inflation.

Eurozone consumer inflation is expected to be confirmed later in the session as rising to 2.9% in December, from 2.4% the prior month, reversing six months of consecutive falls.

Yuan falls after disappointing Chinese growth data

In Asia, USD/CNY rose 0.1% to 7.1969, with the yuan retreating after data showed that China’s economy grew slightly less than expected in the fourth quarter, and barely edged past government estimates of 5% for growth in 2023. 

The reading showed that a post-COVID rebound gained little momentum over the past year, and set a middling tone for China in 2024.

USD/JPY traded 0.5% higher to 147.90, with the yen weakening past the 147 level for the first time in more than a month after a 1% tumble in overnight trade. 

The yen was also dented by increasing expectations that the Bank of Japan will maintain its ultra-dovish course when it meets next week, especially in the wake of the recent devastating earthquake.



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